Daily Digest - April 30, 2021

“Right now, as a denomination, the test of our patience is waiting for the General Conference 2022. The test of our patience as a world is finally reaching herd immunity in this pandemic.”Bishop Sharma Lewis during the April 30 Council of Bishops morning devotion.


TODAY'S HEADLINES

Bishops: No episcopal elections until 2022

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UM News) — United Methodist bishops held fast to their plans to delay episcopal elections until after the postponed General Conference, despite calls from some delegates to do otherwise. However, the bishops also rescinded their recommendation that no U.S. bishops be elected until 2024, opening the door for new leaders to be elected in November 2022. Heather Hahn reports.
Read story
Read press release
UM News: Bishops, delegates called to mission focus

Seeking gun violence remedies, policing reforms
PHILADELPHIA (UM News) — Amid an escalation in shootings and murders in Philadelphia, the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference is hosting virtual events to address urban violence — and the church’s role in combating it — as well as policing in African American communities. John W. Coleman has the story.
Read story 

WCA criticizes some bishops over appointments
MONTGOMERY, Ala. — The Wesleyan Covenant Association’s Global Legislative Assembly met April 30 and overwhelmingly approved a resolution sharply criticizing some United Methodist bishops for appointments the group says target traditionalist pastors and churches. The traditionalist group’s meeting continues May 1 with a Global Gathering, and United Methodist News will have wrap-up coverage next week.

Celebrating information as a public good 
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UM News) —  In honor of World Press Freedom Day on May 3, United Methodist News' Chief News & Information Officer Tim Tanton speaks about reporting on sensitive issues and the threat of misinformation.
Watch video on information as a public good 
Watch video on balanced coverage 
Read press release

World Council of Churches
Deaths at Jewish festival mourned

GENEVA — The acting general secretary of the World Council of Churches released a statement mourning the loss of more than 40 lives at the Lag B’Omer festival in Israel. The annual religious holiday for Orthodox Jews was marred by a stampede that resulted in people being crushed.
Read statement


EVENTS

Tuesday, May 11

Webinar: Adaptive Stewardship in the Post-Pandemic Church

Tuesday, May 18
Online clinic: "Leadership and the Dangerous Liberation of Love"


TOP STORIES FROM THE WEEK

Megachurch seeks exit over appointment strife

MARIETTA, Ga. (UM News) — The largest congregation in the North Georgia Conference is beginning the disaffiliation process and its senior minister is surrendering his credentials as a United Methodist elder. Leaders of Mt. Bethel United Methodist Church also announced April 27 that they are filing formal complaints against Bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson and a district superintendent, accusing the two of not engaging in consultation in the appointment process. The conference and church have different descriptions of what happened. Heather Hahn has the story.
Read story

How churches can help former inmates adapt
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UM News) — A free series of webinars offers advice to church members on how to support former prison inmates. "I see this as a ministry that the church really needs to embrace because 600,000 returning citizens come (home) every year, and guess what? They’re coming to your communities," said the Rev. Michael L. Bowie, national director for Strengthening the Black Church for the 21st Century. Jim Patterson reports.
Read story
View recorded webinars

Korean, Native faithful join to fight virus
OKLAHOMA CITY (UM News) — When the National Network of Korean United Methodist Women connected with the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference, few anticipated the spirit of generosity that would flourish in Native communities affected by COVID-19. Some of the conference's churches also have been serving as vaccine sites. Barbara Dunlap-Berg and Ginny Underwood report.
Read story

Homeless ministry offers compassion in Kenyan slums
NAIROBI, Kenya (UM News) — United Methodists are helping homeless women and children overcome challenges exacerbated by COVID-19. Along with receiving shelter, food, clothing and medical attention, vulnerable children and youth find love and understanding through the church's Homeless Compassion Ministry. Gad Maiga reports.
Read story

United Methodist Communications
Volunteers help make vaccinations happen

TULSA, Okla. — Congregations are stepping up to connect people in their communities — especially the elderly and those who struggle with language barriers and computer skills — with the assistance they need to get vaccinated. Jim Patterson reports.
Read story

Missouri Conference
Bishop shares concerns over gun bill

ST. LOUIS — United Methodist Bishop Robert Farr joined Archbishop Mitchell Rozanski of the Catholic Church and other faith leaders April 28 to express opposition to Missouri House Bill 944. The bill would allow people to bring weapons into a church without the permission of the congregation’s leader. Fred Koenig reports.
Read story
Watch press conference

North Texas Conference 
Historic Dallas-area church closes

FARMERS BRANCH, Texas — The oldest United Methodist church in Dallas County, Texas, held its final worship service on April 24. Webb Chapel United Methodist decided to close after 177 years because of dwindling resources and the challenges of the pandemic. Monica Frazier reports.
Read story
Kansas City church closing after 165 years

Greater Northwest Area
UMCOR grant helps Oregon flood recovery

PENDLETON, Ore. — More than a year after flooding severely damaged hundreds of homes in Umatilla County in northeastern Oregon, significant help from The United Methodist Church is on its way. The United Methodist Committee on Relief approved this week a $100,000 grant to assist the Blue Mountain Region Long Term Recovery Group. Kristen Caldwell has the story.
Read story

Dakotas Conference
Churches start prayer movement for rain

BISMARCK, N.D. — With much of the region facing drought, members of McCabe United Methodist Church turned to prayer. Now, other United Methodist churches have joined their community-wide effort to pray for rain. "The first Sunday after we were praying for rain, it rained about .010 of one inch," says Gloria Knoll, choir director at McCabe. "It was a sign of encouragement from God." Doreen Gosmire has the story.
Read story

Louisiana Conference
Recovery challenges continue in Louisiana

LAKE CHARLES, La. — The Louisiana Conference is rethinking its strategy for helping the southwestern part of the state recover from the 2020 hurricane season. The pandemic and a related drop in giving have been major obstacles. Going forward, the conference is making case management and volunteer recruitment its priorities.
Read story

Greater New Jersey Conference
Native caucus calls out ‘damaging’ comments

NEPTUNE, N.J. — The Native American International Caucus has issued a statement in response to former Sen. Rick Santorum’s comments about Native American culture, calling his remarks “yet another inaccurate and divisive comment that reinforces how Native people are made invisible and blatantly attempts to erase our history.” 
Read statement (PDF)
Read USA Today story

Commentary: Enduring racism as a pastor 
SYLVANIA, Ohio (UM News) — Dr. Josephine Whitely-Fields, a retired pastor who has led churches in Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania, writes about how she persevered through encounters with racism at local church appointments. 
Read commentary
Read more Personal Encounters with Racism

Commentary: Faith is a verb
COLUMBIA, Mo. (UM News) — The Rev. Mel West said he can sum up the lessons he's learned in 97 years of living in one simple phrase: Faith is a verb and the cross is a lifestyle.
Read commentary

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Daily Digest - May 6, 2021

Church leaders in Philippines urge stronger pandemic response; New Jersey Soul Café feeds body, mind and spirit; Kansas church is old hand at outdoor services

Daily Digest - May 5, 2021

Holocaust research leads to spiritual journey; Judicial Council releases more decisions; Church property returned to Nez Perce

Daily Digest - May 4, 2021

Grants go to fight COVID-19 pandemic in India; Clergy Care program launched; 2020 State of Church Report released